A little over a year ago there was a viral video that highlighted a problem with the home office.  To refresh your memory, it was a BBC interview with a professor where his two children burst into the room necessitating their mother corralling them back out thereby preventing any further interruption.

While amusing and sweet, the episode revealed one of the challenges presented by working from home.  Having one’s home office overrun by domestic intrusions (whether by child or household detritus) can be a source of stress and make the work part of the workday take even longer.  Can any home business owner honestly say they’ve never diverted scarce ‘meeting prep time’ in order to tidy up the domicile?

If only there was a place where one could work on a burgeoning personal enterprise without sacrificing the professional standards requisite to its growth.  After all, there comes a point where meeting a client at Tim Horton’s no longer fits with the image an up-and-coming CEO would wish to present.

The solution to this problem and others has arrived and opened its doors in Erin Mills Town Centre – just outside Walmart on the lower level.  MindShare Workspace is Canada’s first mall-located co-working space.  Their aim is to provide a collaborative, integrated venue that will enable its members to leverage the skills, abilities, and experience of the full-time staff.

As stated by personable founder Robert Martellacci, M.A. EdTech, MindShare Workspace is a locus for, “building a community of passionate leaders who want to innovate, connect and grow personally and professionally.”  The idea of finding growth through learning, momentum through collaboration is an important one for Martellacci.  As evidence, he has over 25 years’ experience combining start-up ventures and innovative techniques in the education sphere.

The concept involves people purchasing a Daily, Virtual, Drop-in, Dedicated, or Office monthly membership which gives one access to a workstation, private desk, or suite.  All of the amenities necessary for a start-up (coffee anyone?), well-developed business (both physical and electronic mail services), or innovative student (printers) are on site.  Included or available with the memberships are consulting services, financial planning and budgeting assistance provided by Colin Barry of CanFin Financial Group, executive leadership seminars, and (for additional fees) podcast production, design and brand development services provided by Farshad Engineer of Sherwood Design and Editing.

An important aspect of the prime goal of MindShare Workspace is the recognition of the importance of interconnectedness.  To help maintain the balance between work and social life, individual and neighbourhood interests, they host weekly community-centred activities in the adaptable, convertible space.  Such activities as yoga, robotics camps for kids, Tech Tuesdays, and Feast Fridays all contribute to making the store-front feel energetic and positive.  There’s even some workout equipment on hand in case finding inspiration requires a boost in blood flow.

With this fostering of community inclusion, local business and associations also coming to recognise the benefits of the MindShare Workspace experience; a number of them already having held off-site meetings and brainstorming sessions in the environment.  The approach extends to the individual entrepreneur as well.  MindShare Workspace provides opportunities to network – both on-site and on-line.  It can be difficult for the sole proprietor-types to remain engaged and focused without external stimulation, evaluation, and comparison.

By integrating membership at MindShare with the normal manner of operating, entrepreneurs can enjoy the best of both worlds.  The evolving nature of doing business today means greater opportunity can exist without the need for a permanent bricks-and-mortar office.  However, incorporating a public presence into the business model can go a long way toward increasing positive perceptions of that business for existing and potential clients.

According to Martellacci, there are 100,000 people in Mississauga who have some type of home business.  Aside from reducing the environmental impact of that many commutes to the city, the MindShare facility enables convenient, economical access to integral components of a modern e-business.  Working remotely no longer entails having the entrepreneur feel so removed.

If you’re shopping at the Town Centre stop by and check it out or visit their website at www.mindshareworkspace.com to see what special events they have planned.  When opportunity knocks on the door, perceive the benefits and embrace the MindShare Workspace philosophy.   At the very least there won’t be Legos under foot.